1 Samuel 12

Samuel Addresses Israel

12 Then Samuel said to all Israel, “Behold, I have listened to your voice in everything that you have said to me and have appointed a king over you. 2 And now, here is the king walking before you. As for me, I am old and gray, and here are my sons with you. I have walked before you from my childhood to this day. 3 Here I am; testify against me before the Lord and [Saul] His anointed [if I have done someone wrong]. Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I exploited? Whom have I oppressed or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes [to the truth]? [Tell me and] I will restore it to you.” 4 They said, “You have not exploited us or oppressed us or taken anything at all from a man’s hand.” 5 Samuel said to them, “The Lord is a witness against you, and [Saul] His anointed is a witness this day that you have not found anything in my hand.” And they answered, “He is a witness.”

6 Then Samuel said to the people, “It is the Lord who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your fathers (ancestors) up from the land of Egypt. 7 Now then, take your stand, so that I may plead and contend with you before the Lord concerning all the righteous acts of the Lord which He did for you and for your fathers. 8 When Jacob [and his sons] had come into Egypt [and later when the Egyptians oppressed them] and your [a]fathers cried out to the Lord, then the Lord sent Moses and Aaron who brought your fathers out of Egypt and settled them in this place. 9 But when they forgot the Lord their God, He sold them into the hand of [b]Sisera, commander of Hazor’s army, and into the hand of the Philistines and of the king of Moab, and they fought against them. 10 They cried out to the Lord, saying, ‘We have sinned because we have abandoned (rejected) the Lord and have served the Baals and the Ashtaroth; but now rescue us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve You.’ 11 Then the Lord sent Jerubbaal (Gideon) and [c]Bedan and Jephthah and Samuel, and He rescued you from the hand of your enemies on every side, and you lived in security.

The King Confirmed

12 But when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites had come against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us’—although the Lord your God was your King. 13 Now therefore, here is [Saul] the king whom you have chosen, and for whom you asked; behold, the Lord has set a king over you. 14 If you will fear the Lord [with awe and profound reverence] and serve Him and listen to His voice and not rebel against His commandment, then both you and your king will follow the Lord your God [and it will be well]. 15 But if you do not listen to the Lord’s voice, but rebel against His [d]command, then the hand of the Lord will be against you [to punish you], as it was against your fathers. 16 So now, take your stand and see this great thing which the Lord will do before your eyes. 17 Is it not [the beginning of the] wheat harvest today? I will call to the Lord and He will send thunder and rain; then you will know [without any doubt], and see that your evil which you have done is great in the sight of the Lord by asking for yourselves a king.” 18 So Samuel called to the Lord [in prayer], and He sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.

19 Then all the people said to Samuel, “Pray to the Lord your God for your servants, [e]so that we will not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil—to ask for a king for ourselves.” 20 Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid. You have [indeed] done all this evil; yet do not turn away from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 You must not turn away, for then you would go after futile things which cannot profit or rescue, because they are futile. 22 The Lord will not abandon His people for His great name’s sake, because the Lord has been pleased to make you a people for Himself. 23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way. 24 Only fear the Lord [with awe and profound reverence] and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. 25 But if you still do evil, both you and your king will be swept away [to destruction].”


  1. 1 Samuel 12:8 I.e. the descendants of Jacob (Israel) and his twelve sons.
  2. 1 Samuel 12:9 These may be representatives of Israel’s enemies during the time of the Judges: Sisera of Hazor to the north, the Philistines to the west, and Moab to the south and west.
  3. 1 Samuel 12:11 Greek and Syriac read Barak.
  4. 1 Samuel 12:15 Lit mouth.
  5. 1 Samuel 12:19 The fifty days between the beginning of the barley harvest (Passover) and the end of the wheat harvest (Pentecost) are called the “days of trepidation.” During these fifty days, the farmers pray that it will not rain because all the major crops of the land (the seven varieties of Deut 8:7-10) come to fruition during this time. The rain destroys crops in the field and any produce that has been harvested and covered. The resulting famine from the crop failure would result in many deaths.

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